Stylistpick snags $8M from Accel and Index

Faith Merino · April 12, 2011 · Short URL:

The personalized fashion e-commerce site delivers fashion recommendations from celebrity stylists

Stylistpick, a personalized women's fashion e-commerce site, announced Tuesday morning that it has secured £5 million, or $8 million in a Series A round co-led by Accel Partners and Index Ventures. In addition to the funding, Robin Klein from Index and Sonali De Rycker from Accel will be joining Stylistpick’s board of directors.

Founded in 2010, the London-based startup aims to do more than just sell purses, shoes, and accessories; the site aims to personalize fashion. Each new user starts out with a personalized fashion survey (everyone loves surveys). Selecting from different celebrity outfits, shoes, accessories, and your favorite stores to outline your fashion identity, you’ll start receiving personalized recommendations for handbags, shoes, and accessories from major celebrity stylists and fashion experts like Grace Woodward from Britain’s Next Top Model and The X Factor; fashion journalist and MTV star Louise Roe; and professional stylists Charlotte Adsett, Steph Stevens, Arabella Greenhill and Chris Leger. 

Now here’s the clincher: all of the recommended items come with a flat-rate pricetag of £39.95, and users can either choose their favorite item or skip the month if they don’t like any of it. So in essence, the site is sort of like a reverse Gilt Groupe or RueLaLa. Instead of users having a limited window of time to select from among a wide array of choices, users have a month to choose from among a limited number of items. Only in this case, the premise is that of a guaranteed buy, with the flat rate purchase price of £39.95 for all items simultaneously acting as a kind of subscription fee. So the approach is: “You’re already spending £39.95, might as well pick something out.” And shipping is included, which is genius because at no point will the shopper get to a shipping charge page and decide against purchasing the item because they just can’t justify spending the extra five bucks. Or pounds.

And online shoppers are responding well. Since launching less than a year ago, the site’s membership has doubled each month.

“StylistPick offers consumers a new way to get personalized shopping recommendations from some of fashion’s biggest names. We can bring this customized experience to online shoppers in a fun, affordable way,” said StylistPick founder and CEO Felix Leuschner in a prepared statement. “The new round of funding from Accel and Index will enable us to grow the business more quickly through geographic and category expansion, and by further building the StylistPick team.”

The company plans to use the new funds to boost sales and marketing, as well as expand its reach to other locations (the U.S., perhaps? The dollar-to-pound exchange is pretty painful at £39.95 a month, but I could certainly do $39.95 a month).

“We believe that Felix and his team have created a very powerful new way for fast fashion shoppers to engage with the products they love,” said Accel Partner Sonali De Rycker in a statement. “By bringing stylist and great content into the mix, StylistPick is creating an exciting brand experience for a growing demographic.  As active investors in social commerce we see the company as a great example of how social media can reshape categories.” 

Robin Klein of Index Ventures told me that he chose to invest in Stylistpick because Felix Leuschner "proved a great deal during the early seed phase," and Stylistpick is a "very interesting new model for ecommerce combining these elements:  'soft' subscription (we know a lot about subscription models from LoveFilm and others), 'celebrity' (well-known stylist) endorsement, and degree of personalization."

As for where e-commerce is headed, Klein posited that "It’s headed very much towards mass customisation and social (engagement amongst friends and others to aid and encourage purchase decisions)."

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